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ARTiculate newsletter: March 2018

Hello teachers!

Well this is embarrassing! 2018 is already three months old and this is my first newsletter. A combination of exciting creative work and house moving has stolen my time. But here is an update on everything ARTiculate and, as usual, resources and recommendations for you to use to add a creative spark to your literacy teaching!

Between the lines: a lesson in diversity from a bookshop in Cape Town
This month I am in South Africa’s most beautiful city: Cape Town. There are many issues in education here in South Africa, not least the massive disparity in opportunity and funding for children in many schools. After a visit to the fantastic bookshop The Book Lounge, I have been inspired by the interesting range of children’s literature on offer; crucially, it is literature representative of the diversity in the country.

A bit of a poke in the ribs for teachers like us in the UK: how much does the literature we use in our classrooms reflect the racial and ethnic diversity of the children we teach? Do the children see themselves in the stories they read? How can we challenge the children we teach to accept role models from other backgrounds?

Here are four books that might be ideal for you to use with younger readers.

Florence and Watson and the Sugarbush Mouse by Rob Den Vuuren and Danielle Bischoff with illustrations by Lauren Fowler
Xavier Nagel Agencies (ISBN 9780620737692)

This story in this picture book is told in the three main languages of the Western Cape: isiXhosa, Afrikaans and English. The story follows the adventures of two honey badgers – Florence and Watson – as they travel around in their caravan telling stories to children including one of magic and mystery in the story of the sugarbush mouse. Ideal for a topic on South Africa especially if you are interested in languages.

Tullula by Relifoe Moahloli and illustrated by Simon Mahlo
Yellow Hat (ISBN 9780620761819)

Ndunas are majestic birds that soar in the sky at night. This, the legend goes, is their sacred task: protecting the people sleeping below from a threat long forgotten by all. But one nduna, the curious Tullula, wants to see the world by day and discovers a strange a beautiful world in the process. The stunning illustrations are inspired by traditional fabric prints from the Limpopo region of northern South Africa. Ideal for an art project! 
Ink by Ingrid Mennen

Tafelberg Publishers (ISBN 9780624092903)

As Tinka learns the words for things near her house, she learns that words can have meaning and be made into stories. A beautiful picture book and an intriguing concept.

Day for a Hullabaloo by Philip de Vos and illustrated by Piet Grobler
Protea (ISBN 9781485307655)

A beautiful poetry collection inspired by the music of composer and pianist Robert Schumann. The poems explore the relationship between children and adults and the transition between them.

Using art to inspire literacy – an ARTiculate workshop at Reading University
I had the absolute pleasure of meeting some delightful trainee teachers at Reading University last month. I was invited to deliver a workshop titled ‘Using art to inspire primary literacy’ by the university’s Education Society.

We discussed how art can be the ‘heart’ of the curriculum, giving inspiration to how we develop ideas for writing, rather than the tail, stuck on to the end of the week on a Friday afternoon. The students, such an enthusiastic bunch, designed an art gallery for gorilla from Anthony Browne’s Little Beauty, used the Chinese willow pattern as a visual storytelling method for traditional tales and wrote poems inspired by Hokusai’s The Great Wave Off Kanagawa. The feedback from the students was very positive. Laura said, “the workshop was really good, informative and lots of useful resources for the future”; Alice agreed: “I really liked the idea of using art as the focus of a literacy topic. I would definitely implement that.”

Thanks to you all for taking part!

If you would like similar training in your school or university, please email Stefan at

A book for your shelf: A Midsummer Night’s Dream – adpt. by Leon Garfield
This month, I send to you a resource for teaching William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream for Key Stage 1. This resource forms a chapter written by me and Maureen Kucharczyk in All the World’s a Stage: inspiration for teaching Shakespeare in primary schools. It’s our most popular resource!

The book is available to buy on Amazon! Click here or search Amazon: Shakespeare Stefan Kucharczyk

This resource can be purchased from my e-shop on TES online (click here to access).
You can get it for free by joining my mailing list. Email with the word 'subscribe' as the email subject.

Resource summary 

This play is about love in all its forms. KS1 pupils can focus on the magical, humorous and mysterious elements in the world of the fairies who inhabited the enchanted woods just outside Athens.

Ideas for talking and thinking: Use real life scenarios to help the children recreate the famous ‘war of the words’ between Titania and Oberon…

Ideas for writing: Design a comic strip to retell the argument between the King and Queen of the fairies…

Ideas for art: Create an enchanted forest of fairies using marble painting… 

How can I get Stefan to work with my school?
When schools approach me, these are usually the things they need to know. Click on the question you have to visit my website and find out more.

#1 We need someone to show us how to inspire a class or year group about literacy and writing.
#2 We want a creative challenge for a high-flying group of children.
#3 We need a boost for a group of children who struggle with writing.
#4 We'd love someone to offer regular creative classes at our school.
#5 Our staff want training on how to plan better literacy topics.
#6 It is none of those things, but we’d like you to...

If you want me to transform your school’s literacy teaching, please get in touch by emailing me at I’d love to hear from you!


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